Forget the whole Microsoft hullabaloo. Forget Elian for a minute. This is a verdict that really makes me happy: David Irving lost his ridiculous libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt. There is some justice in the world after all.
For those who don’t know, David Irving is a Holocaust denier who has managed to pass himself off as a semi-respectable historian for years now. His line of work is also known as “historical revisionism” or “Holocaust revisionism,” a title which I think sounds far too intellectual and harmless for what it actually is: lies. David Irving believes that Hitler has gotten a bad rap all these years, that the Holocaust didn’t really happen and that there is a worldwide Jewish conspiracy whose goal includes throwing David Irving’s work into disrepute.
David Irving throws himself into disrepute by spouting such excrement as this:
“In 1948 they built this kind of Disneyland for tourists as a money spinner. Everything they show the tourists is fake.” (He’s referring to Auschwitz.)
“I don’t see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. It’s baloney, it’s a legend…I say quite tastelessly, in fact, that more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz.”
It was because of crap like this that Irving was charged with a hate crime here in Germany in 1992. He’s not allowed to come to Germany anymore. I like Germany a lot for that.
It was also because of crap like this that in her book Denying the Holocaust, professor Deborah Lipstadt accused Irving of manipulating history. And it was because of this book that Irving decided to sue Lipstadt for libel. And it’s because Irving is a disgusting, anti-Semitic Nazi apologist who tries to pass off blatant lies as historical truths that the judge found Lipstadt not guilty of libel. Hallelujah!
The trial has been a big financial blow to Irving. Since he can’t possibly pay the court costs that he brought upon himself, it now looks as if his very expensive house in London is going to be seized.
Irving’s response to this has been as follows: “Undoubtedly they will come for their pound of flesh, but will find I’m made of British beef.” - British beef indeed: it’s the British cows that have been dropping like flies from mad cow disease. Now I’m beginning to understand Irving… But wait, there’s more - “I’ve always suspected they were into money and gold, with a capital G.” I don’t think we need to ask to whom Irving is referring when he says “they".
On his website, Irving has been asking for donations so that he can “…defend his career and reputation against the mudslide triggered by Professor Deborah Lipstadt and her Israeli paymasters.” That’s right, he said “Israeli paymasters.” You see, Lipstadt is, of course, a part of the “…global conspiracy to suborn the media and subvert the truth.”
But it’s not all bad for poor old Mr. Irving. In reference to all the personal documents he had to provide for the trial, he says, “This is a small price to pay for the total insight which we now gain into the enemy’s own machinations — thousands of pages of documents generated by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, by the Anti-Defamation League and its offshoots, the B’nai Brith in Canada, Australia and other countries, their secret correspondence with governments and embassies, and the correspondence between the stooges like Lipstadt and their unscrupulous, hate-filled paymasters in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and in Toronto.”
Can you say raving anti-Semitic paranoid lunacy, boys and girls? I sure can. Read the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” one too many times, did we, Mr. Irving?
Yes, I’m seething. I have harbored a complete disgust for Irving ever since I first had the displeasure of hearing of him back in 1996. St. Martin’s Press was about to publish his book on Joseph Goebbels (Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich), and when I read about Irving and his work, I was absolutely appalled that a respected publishing house like St. Martin’s Press would publish a book by this man and pass it off as “history." I was in the process of formulating a really angry letter to St. Martin’s Press when I read that they had decided to not publish the book after all.
Irving, of course, blathered on back then about how the publishing house must have been paid off by various Jewish groups to not publish the book (sound familiar?), and how St. Martin’s ultimate decision to not publish it was a blow to freedom of speech. I say that St. Martin’s Press has the right to refuse to publish any book it wants. It has nothing to do with freedom of speech - it’s just business. I say that it was a pretty smart business move on the part of St. Martin’s Press, because if they want to keep their good reputation, they had better not touch books like Goebbels with a ten-foot pole.
Irving has been spewing the same rubbish about banned books and his freedom of speech during this libel case. But here again, this case has absolutely nothing to do with David Irving’s freedom of speech. It has nothing to do with Irving’s books being banned; they’re not banned, and even though I think they’re a load of garbage, I don’t think they should be banned.
Irving can and undoubtedly will continue to write whatever lies he wants. Someone or another will undoubtedly publish his drivel, and someone else will undoubtedly sell it (all the major online American, British, and German bookstores sell his books already - and they sell them as history books), and other people will buy it and read it and maybe even believe it.
But maybe after this court case, fewer people will believe it. Maybe.
See, the big problem with Irving is that he is apparently truly knowledgeable in certain areas of World War II history, which gives him an air of overall legitimacy. I suppose this is why he has even been used as a source of information for otherwise completely respectable television documentaries about World War II.
The problem comes when you try to separate his facts from his fictions. Your average non-historian is not going to be able to separate Irving’s few facts from his countless fictions. The average person (and I consider myself an average person) is going to see Irving in a documentary on PBS and assume that the man is legitimate (hey, it’s PBS after all).
That’s why it is completely irresponsible to treat him as a respectable historian in any way whatsoever. Call it throwing the baby out with the bathwater, if you will. But believe me, there are enough real historians out there that we don’t need to listen to men like David Irving just because they may know a thing or two about a thing or two. No amount of expertise in other areas makes up for the fact that Irving refers to Auschwitz as “Disneyland".
And that’s also why I am so utterly delighted that this trial has revealed to the world that Irving is nothing more than an ignorant bigot. I’m thrilled that the Judge Gray flat-out called him a racist and an anti-Semite and that, by finding Deborah Lipstadt not guilty of libel, he has made it possible for others to openly state this simple truth as well - hopefully without being dragged into court for doing so.
David Irving has it all wrong: this verdict is a victory for free speech. It’s a victory for a person’s freedom to speak the truth - to call a spade a spade - to call David Irving the Nazi apologist liar that he is.
And finally: don’t just take my word for all of this. There’s loads of information on the Internet about Irving and Lipstadt and the trial.
David Irving’s own pathetic site is www.fpp.co.uk - I refuse to make that a link because, as silly as it may be, I want absolutely no direct connection from that man’s site to my own. But you can swing by the site if you want a taste of Irving’s insanity. These two pages are especially good:
www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/Auschw.html - You can order full-color “fine art” posters of Hitler here. What was that you were saying about not being a Nazi sympathizer, Mr. Irving?
www.fpp.co.uk/Auschwitz/documents/controversies/humanskin/Index.html - The spinning swastika icon right above the “under construction” message on this page pretty much says it all. The HTML title of the page is nice as well: “let their be light”. Spelling is so passé.
And to wash the nasty taste out of your mouth after looking at Irving’s site, you can go here: